One Eyed Leopard Stalking Wildebeest, South Africa by Joseph Anthony
The leopard stalking wildebeest was part of a long sequence of story telling from the start when this one eyed leopard began his day wandering around somewhat aimlessly then spotting lunch in the distance which led to him to commence a stalk and carefully positioning himself in a hideaway waiting to pounce. We moved continuously to capture as much of the story as possible only for the leopard to strike for the least obvious target which was a young calf facing the wrong way that would not have known what hit it had the leopard gone for it! The image sequence captures this whole event however I chose this one image as it shows off the stalking leopard in all its glory the aim of this shot being to capture the animals natural behaviour through timing the capture of this gorgeous pose. The leopard staredown again this shot was deliberately positioned to create the half covered face effect as I could have moved to the right to get a fully uncovered face if I wanted to. Much of the time leopards stalk and hide moving deftly through the bush and I felt this image captured some of that mystery that they have. It was also made more interesting by the deliberate positioning of a trackers spotlight on one side of the face as well as of course the good fortune of the majestic animal staring straight at me and I had to position my focus point precisely on the eye to get through the grass in front. I certainly feel like I am being preyed upon when I look at this image and I hope the viewers have that same tingle up their spine that I had! Again this is just one of a series of evening/night, spotlight illuminated leopard images and I had to choose from several that I liked. All completely different as some had silhouette effects and merely suggestions of a leopard. Others were illuminated from all different angles as I directed the spotter and driver to position vehicle and lighting for different effects. A fairly compliant wild male leopard helped proceedings enormously! The porcupine fish shot was a unique portrait of a fish that I have struggled to capture decently over the years. Usually very skittish when approached, this one was just hovering inside a clam shell and for once as I approached it decided the safest place to be was inside the shell allowing me to get closer than ever before. So close in fact the image which started out hoping to be just a capture of the fishes whole body turned into a close up super macro shot as I was able to get so close with my wet lens 10x magnifier. The final shot is not cropped at all. What you see is the full frame of the image. The reflection within the eye ball adds a wonderfully interesting contrast of sharpness, colour and texture to an otherwise somewhat painterly blurred outline. They say the eye is everything in an animal image. Well I hope you don't think I went to too much of an extreme with this image. It is certainly a more abstract angle and side of an amazing creature. Hope you enjoy!